Re: 2012-2013 NBA Season
When it comes to Popovich specifically, he is a brilliant coach. But, his situation has allowed him to be extraordinary. Here is an example.
Last season, the Spurs were playing the Mavs and they were down big late in the 3rd quarter. Pop brought in the bench, as he does when his team is down big. He does this for two reasons. First, he wanted to rest his older players. Second, he rewards his secondary players by making them the first options on offense every once in a while. So, with the backups and lesser players in, the Spurs made a furious comeback. And, any other coach would have brought the starters back in to try to finish the game. But, Pop rewarded his secondary players and left the game in their hands. The game ended up going to overtime and still he kept Duncan and Parker (Manu was hurt) on the bench. The Spurs ended up losing the game, but the Pop did something truly unique in leaving the game in the hands of the backups.
Now, that was a great move by Pop. It is one of the reasons his teams are always so deep. He gives his secondary players minutes and he even allowed them to be the stars for once. But, here is the catch and here is why Pop can do that. Duncan and Parker were on the bench cheering every play like the bench guys do. New imagine Carmelo, Kobe, Michael Jordan, Shaq, or almost any other superstar letting that happen. Kobe would have simply subbed himself in with a few minutes left if the game was on the line. Duncan allows Popovich to truly coach the team the way he feels fit and thus Pop gets a ton of credit for his brilliance.
Variatio delectat - Cicero